The singing of the national anthem is one of the most hyped aspects of the spectacle that is the Super Bowl. Everything about the game is heavily publicized, including the pre-game festivities, halftime show and celebrity appearances. This year will be no different.
Alicia Keys will be performing the national anthem in New Orleans before the big game this year, and she plans on making it a memorable rendition (via MSN.com):
I'm really excited about it, I can't even lie. I have to rehearse it totally, as if it's a brand-new song, because it is actually a brand new song in the style that I'll deliver it. I'm actually rehearsing it like a maniac.
More than 111 million people watched the Super Bowl last year, and it’s no surprise performers want to be as entertaining and creative as possible. With its broad reach, the Super Bowl is the biggest venue a performer can possibly imagine.
The fact that details of Keys’ performance are already being talked about is a testament to how big the event is. Even crazier, gambling websites are allowing people to make prop bets on the performance, like this one pointed out by ESPN’s Darren Rovell:
Best Super Bowl prop from @bovadalv: Will Alicia Keys omit at least 1 word from the National Anthem? Yes (3/2), No (1/2)— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) January 24, 2013
The Super Bowl wasn’t always as massive as it is now, though, and the performances before and during the game weren’t always all that noteworthy.
The national anthem for Super Bowl I wasn’t performed by a big-name recording artist, but by the University of Michigan and University of Arizona marching bands. The Grambling University marching band performed it before Super Bowl II, and the band that performed the Star-Spangled Banner for both games also performed at halftime. The Grambling University band would also perform before Super Bowl IX, but they were the last marching band to do so for the Super Bowl (via NFL.com).
Before Super Bowl XI in 1977, Vicki Carr performed “America the Beautiful,” but no one performed the Star-Spangled Banner. It was the first and only time the national anthem wasn’t performed before the Super Bowl.
Apart from the Grambling marching band, only four other performers have been given the honor of presenting the national anthem more than once at the Super Bowl. Billy Joel, Aaron Neville and the U.S. Air Force Academy choir sang it twice. Marlee Matlin has signed the Star-Spangled Banner twice—a practice that has been part of the performance since Super Bowl XXVI.
Since Billy Joel’s 2007 performance, every singer to perform the national anthem has been a female recording artist, including Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera and Carrie Underwood in the last three years. Keys will carry on that recent tradition this year.
There are very few events as popular as the Super Bowl, and as viewership continues to increase, so too will the publicity and hype of performers, commercials and everything else associated with the game.
Given the amount of exposure this year’s Super Bowl entertainment has already wrought, Super Bowl XLVII promises to deliver a lot of entertainment—even for the people who tune in to actually watch some football.